California's fentanyl failure

It is remarkable how the Democrat party's support for criminals is often preferred despite the harm it causes to U.S. citizens.  A recent example comes from California regarding the fentanyl crisis.  Fentanyl is an opioid that is 80–100 times more potent than morphine, and just a small amount can lead to an overdose.  Earlier this month, Anne Milgram of the DEA sent a letter to state law enforcement officials and, after listing seven recent cases of mass overdoses, wrote:

Tragic events like these are being driven by fentanyl. Fentanyl is highly-addictive, found in all 50 states, and drug traffickers are increasingly mixing it with other types of drugs — in powder and pill form — in an effort to drive addiction and attract repeat buyers. These mass-overdose events typically occur in one of the following recurring scenarios: when drug dealers sell their product as "cocaine," when it actually contains fentanyl; or when drug dealers sell fake prescription pills designed to appear nearly identical to legitimate prescriptions — such as OxyContin, Percocet, or Vicodin — that are actually fake prescription pills containing fentanyl. This is creating a frightening nationwide trend where many overdose victims are dying after unknowingly ingesting fentanyl.

Alexandra Capelouto was home in Temecula, California on break in December 2019 from Arizona State University, where she was a scholarship student.  She illegally purchased what she thought was oxycodone from a dealer she found on Snapchat and took half of one pill for insomnia.  The drug was laced with fentanyl, and Alexandra died in her sleep just a few days before Christmas.

After Alexandra's dealer was arrested, state prosecutors found it difficult to prosecute the man for murder or even manslaughter due to the inadequacy of California law with regard to drugs being laced with other substances such as fentanyl.  The dealer is being prosecuted in federal court, where, under federal law, he could receive a prison sentence of 20 years to life if convicted.

In California, an individual convicted of DUI is subject to the Watson Advisement, which the convicted offender must sign.  The advisement warns that a second DUI could lead to prosecution for murder if a person is killed by the drunken driver.  California senator Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, introduced Senate Bill 350 or Alexandra's Law, which would require that similar warnings be given to first-time offenders convicted of selling or distributing controlled substances.  The bill would also allow state prosecutors to charge repeat drug-dealing offenders with manslaughter or second-degree murder in the case of a user's death.  The proposed advisement reads,

You are hereby advised that the illicit manufacture and or distribution of controlled substances, either real or counterfeit, inflicts a grave health risk to those who ingest or are exposed to them. It is extremely dangerous to human life to manufacture or distribute real or counterfeit controlled substances. If you do so, and a person dies as a result of that action, you can be charged with voluntary manslaughter or murder.

However, despite bipartisan support from legislators, county district attorneys across the state, and testimony from family members of victims from fentanyl poisoning, the bill was killed by the California Assembly Public Safety Committee in a 4-1 vote, with only one Republican voting for the bill's advance.

Given the deadly consequences that fentanyl-laced illegal drugs pose to the public, one would think Alexandra's law is a no-brainer.  However, Senator Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles, a member of the committee that killed the bill, indicated that the problem with the law is that it would increase incarceration rates across the state.  Someone needs to remind these Democrats that one purpose of incarceration is to remove individuals from society who pose a danger to the public.  A criminal drug-dealer selling fentanyl represented and disguised as something far less lethal qualifies here.

Image: Tony Webster.

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